By Nick Gale, WLS-AM 890 News
(SPRINGFIELD, Ill.) — Lawmakers down in Springfield are again trying to raise the minimum pay for teachers.
The House has passed a bill that would gradually increase the base teacher salary over the next five years to $40,000. The Downstate democratic lawmaker pushing the bill says the average starting salary is $39,000 with some making more and some less. According to the Illinois State Board of Education, average teacher pay in the state is around $64,500.
But State Rep. Katie Stuart, also a Downstate Democrat, says the increase will help address the state’s teacher shortage.
“Voting in favor of this is a message to our teachers and to our future teachers that we are trying to grow in our state, that we respect the hard work that they do and that we understand the difficulties that they face and we want them to stay and teach in Illinois,” Stuart said.
The bill, which passed along party lines and still must travel through the Senate, does not provide additional funding for districts to make the increases to payroll. Republicans say it ultimately will lead to a hike in local property taxes, hurting middle class families.
A similar bill was passed last year but was vetoed by then-Gov. Bruce Rauner.
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